May 1, 2008



The 2008/2009 Budget was debated in the Lower House and the Senate. Citizens are fully aware of the various arguments raised by both parties but the budget went through its stages and is now passed. It is now time for action.

The issue of food security is no longer a mere talking point but an international crisis. Solutions to this crisis are high on the agendas of all regional governments. In recent times, the call was made for action but the crisis is well advanced of any real action taken to kick off the programmes that could guarantee food security. Guyana’s failure whatever the reason/s to meet its obligation to supply rice and brown sugar to the region is another blow to regional trade, especially those items that are mandated to be sourced from within Caricom.

The government has responded to the plight of the small man and has placed a basket of essential products under price control. With the prospects of declining business activities in the consumer sector, subsidies are likely to be threatened. Already there is decline in money transfers from the Diaspora in North America to relatives in the region. This is evidence that cost of living is hitting the rich countries as well as the poor.

Challenges to everyday living are usually diverted by entertainment events as is currently the case of St. Lucia Jazz that will bring joy to many citizens and visitors over the next nine days. The line up is exciting and is going to give many persons the opportunity to take some much needed respite after a Budget that has engaged citizens’ attention who are grappling with the already high cost of living. With rising oil prices, things are likely to get worse before it levels out.

Individuals and business owners must avail themselves of every opportunity to inform and educate them in the art of surviving in today’s cruel economic environment which is filled with uncertainties and anxieties. The OECS Secretariat Hub and Spokes Project in collaboration with the Government of Saint Lucia presented a 2 day Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Sensitisation Seminar which was held at the Bay Gardens Hotel Conference Centre, Rodney Bay on April 28 & 29, 2008. The organizers lamented the poor turn out of the private sector. As the EPA approaches implementation stage, it will be necessary for all stakeholders to have an understanding of what the challenges and benefits are. The EPA is a Trade and Development Agreement. Information about the trading aspect is in the public domain but the development aspect is yet to be discussed in detail with stakeholders. This area of involvement needs urgent attention if the benefits to our people are to be maximized.

Mr. Hilton Jn Baptiste is the new President of SLISBA. He assumes the leadership of the Association at a critical time when it is being challenged to meet the needs of an expanding membership. Fortunately for him, his first meeting in the chair, he was given the commitment of the membership to be fully involved in the development and execution of the programmes of the association.

Labour Day 2008 could not have held much promise for workers around the world as members of trade unions prepared for a period of austerity filled with uncertainties. The Labour Code is back on the front burner. This is a very difficult time to negotiate such an agreement when the economy is in decline and businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.

No one can be sure of what tomorrow will bring. Companies’ budgets have to undergo constant updating, many times reducing projected profits. Many businesses will experience shortfalls in sales and as a result profits, even navigating the storm with losses, hoping that the turbulent period will be short lived. Cost cutting measures and attention to details will have to be implemented by businesspersons.

In the meantime, while the developments of the past week take root, let us enjoy sweet jazz music for the next week. The organizers continue to ensure that Jazz is taken to the less fortunate in the rural communities. Many of us will be looking forward to welcoming visiting relatives and friends from overseas during this period. Have fun!

Here is my selected quote of the week:
Your success depends on the support of other people.
The only hurdle between you and what you want to be,
is the support of others.
Put yourself in another’s place,
and you’ll know why they think and do certain things.
You can succeed fastest by helping others to succeed.
Always think in terms of what the other person wants.
You’ll get everything in life that you want
if you’ll help enough other people get what they want.
Doing things for others always pays dividends.
You’re not an isolated island.
You’re a piece of the planet, a piece of the universe.
Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement,
all success, all achievement in real life grows.
When you help someone’s boat across a river,
you’ll find your own boat has reached the shore too.
Copyright 2008

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge, Dream Big and Expect Miracles all the time!!!

Edward Harris
Biblicist, Freelance Journalist, Author, Business & PR Consultant, Realtor, Sales & Marketing Specialist, Networker, Private Sector Advocate, Motivational Speaker

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